Carter G. Woodson- Chapter 7: Dissension and Weakness

It’s Black History Month, so I am continuing with the series of posts regarding Shaw resident and Father of Black History, Carter G. Woodson and his book The Mis-Education of the Negro, published in 1933.

In the last chapter we looked at the institution of the Black church. Woodson continues on the topic but goes into the problem of a dis-united church and other problems.

In recent years the churches in enlightened centres have devoted less attention to dissension than formerly, but in the rural districts and small cities they have not changed much; and neither in urban communities nor in the country has any one succeeded in bringing these churches together to work for their general welfare. The militant sects are still fighting one another, and in addition to this the members of these sects are contending among themselves. The spirit of Christ cannot dwell in such an atmosphere.

I shrug at this. Even in the Bible early Christians were divided, so…. Anyway, Woodson is critical of the quality of the church leaders, usually the preacher. “Because our “highly educated” people do not do this, large numbers of Negroes drift into churches led by the “uneducated” ministers who can scarcely read and write.” And he doesn’t let up on criticism of the “educated”, as usual.

In a rural community, then, a preacher of this type must fail unless he can organize separately members of the popular Methodist and Baptist churches who go into the ritualistic churches or establish certain “refined” Methodist or Baptist churches catering to the “talented tenth.” For lack of adequate numbers, however, such churches often fail to develop sufficient force to do very much for themselves or for anybody else. On Sunday morning, then, their pastors have to talk to the benches. While these truncated churches go higher in their own atmosphere of self-satisfaction the mentally undeveloped are left to sink lower because of the lack of contact with the better trained. If the latter exercised a little more judgment, they would be able to influence these people for good by gradually introducing advanced ideas.

When he mentions W.E.B. DuBois’ “talented tenth” it comes off as a swipe and a continuation of his frustration with “educated” African Americans. He’s not fond of the uneducated preacher either. No wonder people think he was an atheist, which I do not.

I think Woodson was unconvinced about the validity of the Christian faith by his observations of Christian practitioners and by the fact it was obtained from the white majority.

It is very clear, then, that if Negroes got their conception of religion from slaveholders, libertines, and murderers, there may be something wrong about it, and it would not hurt to investigate it. It has been said that the Negroes do not connect morals with religion. The historian would like to know what race or nation does such a thing. Certainly the whites with whom the Negroes have come into contact have not done so.

 

 

Carter G. Woodson- Chapter 6: The Educated Negro Leaves the Masses

It’s Black History Month, so I am continuing with the series of posts regarding Shaw resident and Father of Black History, Carter G. Woodson and his book The Mis-Education of the Negro, published in 1933. Don’t let the title fool you this is about church.

Religion is but religion, if the people live up to the faith they profess.- Carter G. Woodson

Wikipedia uses as a citation for the claim that Woodson was an outspoken critic of the Christian Church a site that provides no deep research to back up that claim. Woodson was an expert in the subject of the Black church, having had written The History of the Negro Church, published in 1921. He had strong and valid criticisms but I haven’t seen much to support the claim he was an atheist, but rather more of an agnostic who was very disappointed with the Negro church.

In this chapter I can see where Woodson sees a great value in the Black Church because, “the Negro church is the only institution the race controls.” Once again he is annoyed at the educated AfAms (when isn’t he?) who leave the Negro church for more “ritualistic” denominations. Those being Catholic and Episcopal churches. Me: Guilty as charged. Mainly because Black people church is too damned long.

Woodson mentions he once visited ” in Washington, D. C., one of the popular Negro churches with a membership of several thousands“. I wonder was it maybe Shiloh Baptist? I mean he wouldn’t have to cross the street to pop in. Anyway, at this unnamed Black church he could only spot two college graduates in attendance, and they were only there to get something (fund raising and charity).

I can read Woodson’s frustration with the Black church. “The Negro church, however, although not a shadow of what it ought to be, is the great asset of the race.” He sees the church’s potential as an organizing body and how it could serve the Black race (theology shmeology), but can’t ignore the hypocrisy, charleton preachers, and other human failings and shortcomings that come along with the Black church and church in general.

Let’s ignore Woodson’s lack of adherence to any faith and get to the topic of the book and this chapter, criticizing college educated Black people. Black church was where the Black masses were. It was the most powerful institution controlled by African Americans. Where were the “mis-educated” educated Afro-Americans, not in the Black Baptist and Black Methodist churches. A theme throughout The Mis-Education of the Negro is that the college educated Black people lose contact and are out of touch with the common Black person.

Maybe next year I should explore his book on the history of the Black church.

I was raised in the Black Baptist church and am currently a Roman Catholic, who had a short detour with the Episcopalians, so there are some things in this chapter I want to address before closing. Woodson pointed out that the problem with the Catholic and Episcopalian churches was that a Black man’s rise was limited. This problem has been since rectified. The current presiding Archbishop of the Episcopal church is an African American man, Michael Curry. And the current Archbishop of Washington, DC, Cardinal Wilton Gregory (the 1st AfAm cardinal) heads the Roman Catholic diocese. There has been some advancement for African Americans since Woodson published his book.

Property Owners of Truxton Circle- Corinthian Baptist Church

Landowner list of Sq 551Last one in this particular series looking at the above segment of the General Assessment 1933-1934. I was not going to look at Ms. Julia W. McGuire, as she is in a trustee position. My dad is a trustee at his church (why. lord. why) and so his name shows up on the tax database for his county for his church’s parking lots. But another quick look at the Recorder of Deeds database showed that she transferred ownership to Corinthian Baptist Church July 23, 1931. I guess I’m looking up Ms. McGuire.

Mrs. Julia Wise (Grayson?) McGuire (1862- 1952), lived at 531 T St NW was the widow of Robert L. McGuire, and was an African American woman. That’s as much research as I want to do. I’ll write a bit about Corinthian Baptist Church. It was part of the 1957 Church Survey, so I have that link here.

Corinthian Baptist was at 3rd and Q before they moved to the unit block of Q. Corinthian Baptist at some point gave way to Ebeneezer Baptist. They sold their property to Mt. Sinai Baptist in July 23, 1948. The database says 7/20/1948 but that is definitely a 3 not a 0. Seems like July 23rd is a special date.

As you can see with your own eyes, the lots owned by the church managed to survive the urban renewal which created the Northwest Cooperative and Florida Avenue Park.

 

1957 Church Survey: Third Church of God

Okay I had to look at the old Shaw map to figure out if this was in Mount Vernon Square or Shaw or both. The answer is both. The Mount Vernon Square historical district overlaps with parts of Shaw.

Commercial Building Map
Map of Shaw for 1970 Commercial Buildings

The the other question was, “Is this the church on New Jersey Ave?”  Yup, 3rd Street, New Jersey Ave, same diff apparently. That little section between Morgan and New York Avenue, has northbound traffic going on New Jersey and southbound traffic on 3rd Street.

The Third Church of God appears to continue on as the Third Street Church of God. In the 1957 survey their address is listed as 1204 3rd Street NW. Looking at their history listed on their website they wrote: Continue reading 1957 Church Survey: Third Church of God

1957 Church Survey- New Hope Baptist

Some Church Survey posts are chock full of information, and some got nada. And that is New Hope Baptist Church.

CS 49 New Hope Baptist by Mm Inshaw

 

I looked up the address on Google and according to Streetview, the True Gospel Baptist Church is at that spot now. And just for my own records the SSL now is 0303-0052.  This page barely has any useful information, except the name of the then pastor Rev. Truman Dixon who lived on the premises at 1104 W Street NW.

1957 Church Survey: National City Christian- Random church not in Shaw

I know it has been a good long while since I’ve put out the church surveys, so here’s a quick refresher. So the city and other authorities conducted a survey of churches in the Northwest Urban Renewal Area, which was a precursor to the Shaw School Urban Renewal Area, which is just now known as Shaw. The thing is there was never a survey like this one ever conducted again. The survey included steeple churches, storefront churches and even little house churches. And the churches that did bother to answer most of the survey questions provide a wealth of demographic information.

Today’s church is National City Christian Church at Thomas and 14th Streets NW. It’s just outside the Shaw boundaries.

CS 61 National City Christian by Mm Inshaw

Looking at their survey response, in 1957 they were a large white middle class church with about 2000 members. Now looking at their website, they appear to be more multicultural as they have a 11AM Sunday worship service in Spanish.

It’s hard to say if they were a commuter church in 1957. About 40% lived in the suburbs of Maryland and Virginia, but half of the congregants lived somewhere in DC. Just not in the survey area, that was 10%. That makes sense as they were Downtown, and not a lot of people lived Downtown. Not did many of their congregants live in Shaw. But Dupont and the West End are sorta in walking distance.1957ChurchMap

 

1957 Church Survey: Asbury Methodist Church- Random church not in Shaw

E5074350-AsburyMESo the Methodists are in the news these days and I need to get back to posting parts of the October 1957 Northwest Urban Renewal Church Survey. So here we have Asbury Methodist Church, at 1100 K St NW (not in Shaw) which was and still is an African-American church.

The more I look at these surveys the more I think most are best guesstimates by the church secretary or junior pastor who got stuck with it. I think this because the population is a round 1000 congregants. But the possible guesstimate that the church was half white collar (40%) and professional (10%) I’m more confident in, as the church in its current form strikes me as a middle class church. There were a significant number of members who did not live in the survey area but 33% (ish) did, so sorta kinda a commuter church?

Below is the survey so you can see it for yourself.

CS 52 Asbury ME by Mm Inshaw on Scribd

Shaw School Review: St. Augustine Catholic School

St. Augustine school DC
1421 V Street NW

Type of school: Parochial / Private
Grades: Pre-K3 to 8
Before School care: Unsure (ADW says yes)
After School care: Yes, $1,875.00 per child
Enrollment: 183 (2018-19)
Student:Staff Ratio: 6:1

PS K 1st  2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th
15 15 12 17 20 18 24 21 18 23

Cost Per Pupil-$13,750  Tuition: $6,250.00 per child (Archdioceses of Washington-ADW provides a $7,750.00 subsidy for every student)

2017-18 PARCC Classification

St-Aug-1

St-AugMathRegion

St-Aug-Reading St-Aug-Math

Mari’s 2cents: This will be the only private school I will be reviewing because finding information about private schools is a bit more challenging. The data is stale because it looks like the Roman Catholic Archdioceses of Washington (ADW) only bothered testing everyone in the 2017-2018 school year. When I look for test data at other Catholic schools they cite 2017-2018 as well. They have a different test, Scantron.
Compared to the rest of DC, and I’m assuming it is DCPS, charter and maybe some other schools, St. Augustine tests very well. Forty-nine percent of it’s students are performing at or above expectations (using the PARC 1-5 system) in reading/ ELA and 51% in Math, compared to DC-State at 28% and 27%. I should also mention the school is about 98% African American.

Sources:
https://staug-dc.org
Q4 Attachment – Private School Enrollment SY14-15 SY15-16 SY16-17, SY17-18 to date (Excel Sheet)
https://adwcatholicschools.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/2018-2019-Strategic-Data-Portfolio-FINAL.pdf
https://d2y1pz2y630308.cloudfront.net/17051/documents/2019/3/St.%20Augustine%202017%20-%202018%20Local%20PARCC.pdf

1957 Church Survey: 3 Churches

The 1957 Church Survey of Northwest Urban Renewal Churches typically provides a lot of information. Sometimes it tells what the class and racial makeup of the church was in that period of time. And sometimes it is just bare bone location and public record info. Instead of having 3 separate posts for churches with bare bone info, I’m throwing them into one post.

Verbycke Spiritual Church

This church was at 1009 8th St NW, which no longer exists. A convention center sits on it now. Prior to the spiritualists getting to it, it was the Syrian Catholic Church.

CS 46 Verbycke Spiritual Ch… by Mm Inshaw on Scribd

People’s Seventh Day Baptist

Very confusing name. Easily confused with the Seventh Day Adventists. People’s Seventh Day Baptist was located at 2105 10th St NW. Supposedly there are supposed to be some condos there. But looking at a 2018 Google Street view of the place, there is an empty church and an empty lot.

CS 50 Peoples Seventh Day B… by Mm Inshaw on Scribd

Walker Memorial Baptist

Walker Memorial Baptist is located at 2018 13th Street NW.

CS 51 Walker Memorial Baptist by Mm Inshaw on Scribd

1957 Church Survey: Berean Baptist Church

I don’t know if the “Historic” Berean Baptist Church off Rhode Island Avenue NE in a building that looks like a bank, circa 1987, is in anyway related to this Berean Baptist Church, formerly at 2033 11th St NW. More than likely it’s the plain old Berean Baptist Church on Madison St. NW. The current residents are a different denomination, Christian Tabernacle Church of God. Reading their history the Church of God people got there maybe in 1974?

Anyway, the church in 1957 was black and the two current Berean Baptists are also black churches. A majority of the parishioners were professionals (34%), followed by white collar workers (26%), and then the next highest group were retirees (18%).  So I’m going to say this was a black middle class church.

CS 47 Berean Baptist by Mm Inshaw on Scribd